Maurice J. Tobin
Painting: by Howard Everett Smith, 1947

Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts: 1945-1947

Born in Roxbury's Mission Hill neighborhood, Maurice Tobin was the son of a carpenter. He attended Boston College before working for Conway Leather and New England Telephone. A protégé of James Michael Curley, Tobin was elected a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives at age twenty-five. After serving on Boston's school committee from 1931-1937, Tobin shocked the political establishment by challenging and beating his mentor, James Curley, in the 1936 Mayoral race.

Tobin served as Mayor of Boston from 1937, until he was elected Governor in 1944. He advocated the Fair Employment Practices Bill, which prohibited discrimination based on race, color, creed, and national origin in hiring or promotion practices. He described discrimination as a hideous evil, which must be eliminated as a prerequisite to world peace. Governor Tobin advanced bills to increase the benefits of Unemployment Insurance and Workers Compensation. He was defeated in his first reelection bid by Robert Bradford. Mr. Tobin remained active in Democratic politics, supporting Harry Truman for President and was appointed as his Secretary of Labor, serving 1948-1953.